Editor’s Note: On Friday, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus shockingly resigned, citing an extramarital affair that demonstrated "extremely poor judgment."
The 60-year-old Petraeus is certainly not the first high-profile figure to have been tempted into commiting infidelity. Here’s a list from the Huffington Post of 13 celebrities over age 50 who have admitted to having strayed from their significant other.
According to statistics at Infideltyfacts.com, one or both spouses admit to infidelity, either physical or emotional, in 41 percent of marriages in the United States. Here at Midtown Patch, Local Voices contributor Carolyn Tucker, recently wrote about "How to Cope With Fear of Infidelity and the Anxiety it Brings."
And of course, there’s no shortage of professionals offering marriage counseling services in and around Midtown. See here for a listing of such.
On Saturday, Midtown Patch offered the first of a two-part series on how to have an affair from Ben Cathey, the pastor of the Orchard Church in Loganville, Ga. In it, he outlined the steps one can take that can take a person down a path to the breaking of the 7th commandment.
Here today is Part II of the series. These columns first appeared on Loganville-Grayson Patch on Nov. 20 & 27, 2011.
The best way to protect your spouse and yourself from infidelity is to have an affair with him or her. Reverse the process from last week’s article and be theirs for a lifetime.
ONE – Just Do It
Sounds crazy to start here but marriage is not the place for sexual boredom and lack of fulfillment . . . that’s the devil trying to trick us into making one of God’s greatest gifts to us joyless and duty laden. The downside to sexual contact is pretty high outside of marriage. Here are just a few of the reasons to avoid sex outside of marriage:
1. It’s strong medicine that can blind us to a person’s true character.
2. It can isolate us from others at crucial stages in life.
3. Did anyone say sexually transmitted disease.
9. Statistically, we have a higher chance of divorce.
10. We train our heart toward unfaithfulness in marriage.
11. Who wants to remember being with someone else once they tie the knot?
12. Hampers ability to focus on how God wants to use you to change the world.
Inside of a lifelong marriage commitment sexual intimacy is almost all positive. It is sacred, beautiful, bonds two people together, and if a child is born that child is born into a home with a mother and father to provide for it. Contrary to popular belief, God is totally cool with it. In fact, he created it! 1 Corinthians 7:3 says, “3 The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs.” God created sex for pleasure, for bonding - and for babies. What better way to experience all those things than being with someone you totally trust and are deeply committed to for life.
TWO – Make The Choice to Trust God With Your Marriage
One of the things that people begin to think when they commit adultery is that they married the wrong person and that a good and gracious God brought this new person into their life to save them from their mistake. Yeah, I know, it’s a little crazy. We do and think lot’s of crazy thing. God didn’t just throw out the 7th commandment for certain people. He didn’t say don’t commit adultery . . . unless you really think you love the other person. Here is a better plan: Trust that God meant what is written in the Ten Commandments. Have you ever thought about this: If God is good and gracious enough to bring a new person into your life isn’t he good and gracious enough to reconcile and repair the relationship you have with your spouse? Trust God with your marriage.
THREE – Be Honest With Your Spouse
Don’t keep secrets. If you spend time with someone of the opposite sex let your spouse know. If you think someone is attracted to you then share that with your spouse. Don’t make excuses to be with the other person. Don’t tell your spouse you had an extra good workout at the gym when the truth is you had a 25 minute conversation with Susie. Don’t let your spouse believe that you had lunch with all of your co-workers when it was just you and Steve at Ruby Tuesday’s earlier in the day. Be honest with your spouse and form a hedge of protection around your marriage.
FOUR – Compare to Build Up
When someone cheats they often compare the best of the other person to the worst of their spouse. Instead of comparing your spouse to others to tear your spouse down choose to compare build up. What is your spouse good at? What are they talented at? What is it about them that caught your attention to begin with? If your spouse comes home from work smelling bad then think about how proud you are that they work hard instead of just how stinky they are . . . then ask them gently to jump in the shower before dinner.
FIVE – Flirt, Date, Surprise
Flirt with him! Just because you are married does not mean that you stop flirting. Embrace her unexpectedly. Sneak a kiss on the elevator. Hold hands. Open the door. Write notes. Date! Don’t play the part of the poor hero who says, “I’ve never been anywhere without my kids for 10 years.” No! That’s not healthy. The best thing you can do for you kids is to date your spouse. They will feel secure because they will know that mom and dad are still in love. Surprise! Instead of sneaking off with someone else for a private encounter why don’t you surprise your spouse one day at work and sneak them away for a little time together. You can even rent a hotel room if you want. It’s all good.
SIX – Share Life
Lean on each other emotionally. Support each other. Listen. Share. Give advice. Support. Care. Encourage. Lift up. Don’t set your spouse up to look for emotional support from anyone else. Be there for them. Ladies, go the Bass Pro Shop with him. Guys, go to the show sale at Belk with her. Don’t go because you love guns or you love shoes. Go because you love him or you love her. Choose to spend time together. Find similar interests. Enjoy life together.
SEVEN – Convince Yourself It Can Happen and Stay On Guard.
As a young married man with three kids at home I was finishing my Master of Divinity degree with an intense J-term (four weeks of intensive study to get a single semester long class in). Daily class time was about 4-5 hours and then there would be 4-6 hours of homework, reading, and projects in the evening. I was eight hours from home and all by myself. I befriended a few people in my class. Several of them were single men and women. We would study, laugh, joke, eat, and discuss life together. Over the course of the four week’s we got to know each other pretty well. There was one particular woman I was attracted to. Without knowing, it I began to look forward to seeing her. I would think of her when I went to the library. I found myself hoping she would be in the cafeteria at meal times. She was fun, smart, pretty and called by God to full time ministry. We were two ministers being trained to work in full time Christian ministry. Of course nothing would happen, right? On my last night on campus before finals the next day I thought that I would go up to the library just to “say goodbye to a few friends I had met.” As I approached the library I could see her studying through the window. At that moment I made a crucial decision. I turned and walked away. I realized that I didn’t go to the library to see friends, but to see her. Our relationship was innocent and friendly, but now I was seeking her out at 10 p.m. at night. Even if I had pushed, I doubt she would have let things become inappropriate, but it was better to be safe. It was better to walk away and risk offending a friend I had only known for a couple of weeks than risk damaging the relationship of a lifetime. I left that J-tern without saying goodbye to the woman whose name I can’t remember, but whom I’ll never forget. Fifteen years later I have no clue where she is or what she is doing . . . and that’s a good thing.
Remember these words often:
In the name of God,
I take you, to be my wife,
to have and to hold
from this day forward,
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
until we are parted by death.
This is my solemn vow.
Ah! I still have her! Thank God, my one and only is still by my side. Twenty years now and I’m convinced we will make it to 30, 40, 50, 60, and maybe even 70 something years of marriage. I’m going chose to keep having an affair with her and no one else!